Monday 22 January 2018

Ireland's Fergal O'Brien to face Mark Selby in World Championships after record-breaking victory

Fergal O'Brien qualified for the Betfred World Championship in a world record climax
Fergal O'Brien qualified for the Betfred World Championship in a world record climax

FERGAL O'BRIEN is in this morning's draw for the opening round of the World Snooker championships after a record-breaking victory in the final qualifying round match against Dave Gilbert.

In what was a tight tussle all the way, things took a turn for the worse in the last which set the record for the longest frame of the modern era as it lasted 119 minutes and 40 seconds.

The pair were one hour on the colours alone including a controversial moment when, with Gilbert snookered on the green, he appeared to hit the blue first, however, it wasn't called by the referee and play continued. However, O'Brien kept his composure and sealed a 10-9 victory with pots on the brown and blue as he became the last man to qualify for the tournament.

Earlier, Peter Ebdon wrestled with mixed emotions after he secured a 24th appearance. The 2002 world champion was thankful to be back at snooker's most famous venue but was left "numb" by his performance in sneaking a 10-9 win over Michael Holt in the final qualifying round.

Ebdon, 46, was close to tears as he weighed up his latest successful bid. The 40th anniversary of the Crucible first staging the tournament makes it especially poignant for Ebdon, who said: "It means everything."

Earlier, two-time champion Mark Williams lost out 10-7 to England's Stuart Carrington. His defeat means he misses out on a place for just the second time since his debut in 1997.

Draw for the first round of the Betfred World Championship, beginning on Saturday at the Crucible, Sheffield:

Mark Selby v Fergal O'Brien

Ryan Day v Xiao Guodong

Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham

Marco Fu v Luca Brecel

Shaun Murphy v Yan Bingtao

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Gary Wilson

Liang Wenbo v Stuart Carrington

Ding Junhui v Zhou Yuelong

Stuart Bingham v Peter Ebdon

Kyren Wilson v David Grace

Mark Allen v Jimmy Robertson

John Higgins v Martin Gould

Barry Hawkins v Tom Ford

Ali Carter v Graeme Dott

Anthony McGill v Stephen Maguire

Judd Trump v Rory McLeod

Irish Independent

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